Turkey election: Opposition raises alarm over complaints of 'voting violations', Recep Erdogan says no serious problems

Ankara: Turkey's main opposition party expressed alarm on Sunday over the number of complaints of voting violations in the country's restive southeast, as Turks went to the polls in the tightest election in recent years.

 Turkey election: Opposition raises alarm over complaints of voting violations, Recep Erdogan says no serious problems

File image of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. AP

The Republican People's Party (CHP), the party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's main challenger Muharrem Ince, said that party officials had confirmed cases of inconsistencies in the Sanliurfa province.

"From Sanliurfa, there have been many complaints," spokesman Bulent Tezcan told reporters in Ankara. "Our colleagues intervened where (the issues) occurred." He said complaints had been made to neighbourhood election committee and officials had approached the Higher Election Board (YSK). "We are trying to ensure ballot box safety," he added.

Erdogan played down any worries about vote security in Istanbul and said, "I have been informed that there is no serious problem across Turkey."

During the press conference, Tezcan played a video from the district of Suruc in Sanliurfa —which the party said it had confirmed was genuine — in which a man said there were more votes in the ballot box than the number of votes already cast.

Four people had been killed earlier this month during campaigning in Suruc, an area with a large Kurdish community where the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) is expected to poll well.

Tezcan cited another instance from the Eyyubiye district of Sanliurfa where he said 100 votes had been brought to the ballot box overnight for Erdogan's "People's Alliance" of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

Tezcan also denounced the presence of armed people in the streets of Suruc, who he said were threatening the election atmosphere. "They are trying to pressure voters in Suruc...they are trying to create something like a terror atmosphere for voters on election day," he warned.

Analysts say that a transparent vote is crucial for Turkey in the twin legislative and parliamentary elections which are seen as the toughest test Erdogan has undergone at the ballot box.Tens of thousands of Turkish citizens are responding to calls from the opposition to monitor the polls for a clean election and a delegation of observers from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe is also in place.

Updated Date: Jun 24, 2018 18:20:43 IST